Sun on your face, wind coursing past as you fly downhill, and you look up to see this soaring view – the Alps deserves their reputation as a bucket-list destination. If you want to tick them off your list, you could do worse than the picturesque Ellmau ski resort in Austria – the area’s high quality snow and soul-stirring scenery make it a must-see for those in the know.
Perched beneath the Wilder Kaiser mountains, Ellmau is nestled in a sweet Tyrolean valley between Salzburg and Innsbruck. It has earned a reputation as a quiet and family-friendly resort, with pistes that offer equal opportunity for beginners and more advanced skiers to enjoy the mountains.
Ellmau is no one-trick pony, however, and is well worth your hard-earned holiday time in both summer and winter. From traditional food to festivals and stunning summer hikes, here are a few of our favourite things to do on holidays to Ellmau.
Ellmau boasts a busy summer concert series of modern and traditional folk music performances. The summer is anchored by the annual Summer Village Festival, usually in mid-July. After a day of hiking and enjoying festival events, refuel with rustic Tyrolean cooking; try the Speckknödel or Spinatknödel, dumplings with bacon or spinach, respectively.
The Great Outdoors
The highlight of the region, undoubtedly, is the impressive Wilder Kaiser mountain range. With well-maintained winter and summer hiking trails, the area’s 102sq. km nature reserve covers both the hills and rolling Alpine meadows and valleys. If a bucolic meadow picnic isn’t sporty enough to get your heart racing, mountain biking, rock climbing and snowshoeing (to name a few) will keep your adrenaline pumping.
If your legs are sore from wandering the mountains, take a day trip to a neighbouring city to give them a rest. The AlpenZoo in Innsbruck is popular with families, and Ellmau’s more cosmopolitan neighbour is home to excellent restaurants and shopping. Closer by, the Huber Bräu (Huber Brewery) in Sankt Johann is a great spot to enjoy fresh, local beer and traditional food.
Practicals: Getting to Ellmau
Ellmau, though tucked away in a valley, is still very accessible. If you’re flying in, the nearest airports are Salzburg and Innsbruck. The Wilder Kaiser region also runs a local bus system for tourists, called the Kaiser Jet, to get around the area. It’s easy to take one of these regular busses from a train station (Sankt Johann) or bus station (Sankt Johann, Kufstein) to Ellmau, or to explore the area when hiking or skiing. Hiring a car is also easy, and Ellmau is well connected by road to the rest of Tyrol and Austria.
Come for the snow, but stay for the food, the hiking, and the atmosphere. Whatever it is, come explore and let your heart be warmed by the charms of Ellmau.